Amrita, a 15-year-old girl studying in class seven in a local school had lost her father three years ago. Her mother is hearing impaired and uses sign language to communicate. Amrita has one younger brother who is studying. They have no land of their own. Their family had occupied a small plot of land near the river where they had put up a hut. Since both parents were disabled they were not able to educate the children.

Amrita, being the eldest child, worked for a family and they educated her up to class four. Later both children were sent to Navjyoti Center by their principals for educational support. In this process, the father died and the mother suffered partial paralysis. Begging is the only support for her.

Seeing the condition of the family, neighbors would help with food at times. The poor condition was a bonus for the traffickers who allured Amrita into getting a job abroad as a housemaid. Sensing it as the only outlet from poverty she readily agreed to it. Her mother had no idea of what was happening except that her daughter was getting a job.Though Amrita was a member of the Navjyoti child club, none of her companions, nor the staff of her school, nor staff of Navjyoti had any information about it. Her birth certificate was changed making her seven years older.

She was taken to Kathmandu by a neighbor for making her passport and visa. After a week she was taken directly to Nepalgunj, near the Indian border. She was to accompany others to Delhi by bus. Fortunately, a call from Amrita’s village reached Navjyoti Center. The staff was sent out to her house. They met her cousin who lived close by. She provided the phone number of the woman who accompanied her. Amrita’s phone was taken away from her and could not be contacted. One of the women lawyers who has been working with Navjyoti was called for assistance and she contacted the woman who reached Amrita to Nepalgunj. Another trafficking agent had taken over. On receiving the information regarding arrest and punishment of those involved in trafficking, Amrita’s agent protested that the girl was going to work of her own choice. Yet, after listening to the lawyer she promised to return the girl. By then she had already crossed the border. She was taught to say that she was going for shopping in Rupadiah (a shopping center on Indian side).

Meanwhile, the phone reached the agent and he asked her to return. Seven other girls who were with Amrita continued the journey to Delhi. Amrita informed her family through one of her companions that she was returning to Surkhet by the last bus. She was received by her relatives at 9:30 p.m. at the bus stand. She was counseled and sent back to school to write her final exam.

Amrita is still not aware that she was being sold. She feels that if she had gotten the job her family could rebuild their house and live in their own house and educate her younger brother. Since the one room mud house is ready to fall apart her family has to take shelter in their relatives’ house. But she finds no solution to her problems. It is a big challenge for Navjyoti Center to prevent her from being trafficked again. She wants to study and join the police force to protect young girls like herself.

Sister Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, SCN